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What to bring to Carslbad Caverns?

Discussion in 'Wanderlust and Travel' started by alexf, Jul 12, 2019 at 2:51 PM.

  1. Will be travelling to Carlsbad Caverns NM in August. Will also be in Santa Fe.

    Planning on D700 + 24-70 and a tripod.

    Any other focal length or equipment I should take?

    Maybe something wider than 24?

    Any advice appreciated.
  2. I'd check to see if tripods are allowed in the caverns. On a October '18 trip to the Grottes de Han in Belgium I made do with existing light and high ISO (D850) and a 16-35 f/4 lens. This is at 16mm and 7200 ISO:

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
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  3. ...and something wider
    I found the shooting brutal, hard to walk on the wet floor, tight spots for a tripod and screwy lighting and I got a touch of claustrophobia
  4. For situation like this I've been really happy with the 20/1.8. Wider, faster and exceptionally sharp, it's also small and light weight. I have the 16-35 and while the VR is nice, the 16mm never seems much wider than the 20 after correction and the f1.8 is 2+ stops faster.
  5. Tripods are allowed.

    The 20mm / 1.8 would be great but too expensive for a one time use.

    I ordered an Opteka 15mm f/4 from Amazon for $139. My widest FX is 24mm

    Never seen it but reviews are ok for the price. Will have it tomorrow and test over the weekend.

    I have a DX fisheye but that won't do for the D700.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019 at 4:26 PM
  6. I'd bring some flashlights for light-painting. The lighting they have down there along with a speedlight wasn't as forgiving as a person would like it to be, but some long exposures with some light-painting allowed more precision in what should be accentuated in the frame.

  7. Good idea!
  8. Bring a jacket, it can feel chilly.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. Butlerkid

    Butlerkid Cafe Ambassador Moderator

    Apr 8, 2008
    Rutledge, Tennessee
    We were there in 2013..... Click an image to view full screen, then click the "i" (information) in the lower right hand corner to see camera/lens/exposure settings. You can then use the right arrow key to move from one image to the next, with the shooting data updated as you go.

    Carlsbad is HUGE and the wider the better! And unless they have updated the lighting, be prepared for several types of lighting in one scene......which makes for serious challenges related to white balance! And don't rush....take your time and enjoy the spectacle, shoot HDR's, and have fun!
  10. Consider renting it.
  11. Wonderful set Glenn!

    Mike: renting. Didn't think about that.
  12. Great shots Glenn, the colors are fantastic. Did you light paint any of them?
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